Studies: Antarctica, ice, and sea level rise

This article discusses what to take from the big new Antarctica studies.

Two new papers on melting Antarctic ice come just days after NASA scientists announced the discovery of a massive subterranean hole in West Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier, the Florida-sized hunk of ice which alone could unleash more than two feet of sea-level rise should it collapse.

In the first paper, an international team of researchers examined the impacts of melting ice on global ocean circulation and weather patterns.

Then, a study found that the Thwaites collapse could cause as much as eight feet of sea-level rise (nearly triple previous estimates). The results were so dire, the study was controversial. That much sea-level rise would cause, in the words of climate scientist James Hansen, “the loss of all coastal cities … and all their history.”

Wednesday’s second paper is one of the first major responses to that finding. The new paper finds that while we might avoid what Grist has called an “Ice Apocalypse,” it’s not necessarily good news: Sea-level rise would still exceed that of pre-2016 estimates, though at the lower end of the recently released National Climate Assessment, ordered by the Trump administration.

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